UK news

Outrage over 'demonising' play for Gaza

By Leon Symons, February 12, 2009

A 10-minute play about the history of Israel by the playwright Caryl Churchill has been condemned as antisemitic.

The claim has been “categorically” rejected by the Royal Court Theatre, which is staging the play, Seven Jewish Children — a play for Gaza.

Natalie Ibu, the play’s assistant director, sent an email to the Board of Deputies while the play was in rehearsal.

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Solicitor close to forcing release of report on BBC MidEast bias

By Simon Rocker, February 12, 2009

The BBC is under new pressure to publish a five-year-old report into the fairness of its Middle East coverage after a decision this week by the Law Lords.

Steven Sugar, who has been campaigning for four years for the corporation to disclose the Balen Report under the Freedom of Information Act, overturned one of the main obstacles against its release.

After his 3-2 victory in the Lords, Mr Sugar, a commercial solicitor from London, said that there was now a strong case for issuing the report — written by the senior BBC editorial adviser, Malcolm Balen.

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Foreign Office man arrested over 'racism'

By Simon Rocker, February 12, 2009

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office remained tight-lipped this week after the arrest of a senior official for an alleged antisemitic outburst.

Rowan Laxton, head of its South Asia desk, reportedly shouted “F*** Jews, f*** Israelis”, after watching pictures of Israeli action in Gaza on TV last month. He allegedly made his outburst while exercising in the gym of the London Business School.

The diplomat denied making anti-Jewish remarks, according to the Daily Mail, which had reported the allegations.

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Hate incidents reach record level on eve of antisemitism conference

By Leon Symons, February 12, 2009

The annual Community Security Trust report reveals that January was the worst month ever for antisemitic incidents in Britain. The upsurge — linked to Israel’s Gaza incursion — followed falls in 2007 and 2008.

The total for 2008 was 541 incidents. The highest annual figure was 598 in 2006, the year of the Lebanon war.

Eighty-eight violent assaults were recorded, and 74 cases of damage to Jewish property.

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Dundee students to boycott Eden water

By Stephanie Brickman, February 12, 2009

Dundee University Students Association has resolved to boycott BAE Systems and Eden Springs because of their interests in Israel.

Before last Thursday’s debate on the boycott resolution, Dundee’s university authorities had already agreed to instruct their investment managers to sell defence industry stock, including that in BAE Systems, in response to student pressure.

As a result the debate focused on the water company, Eden Springs. The motion, proposed by the Stop The War Coalition, was backed by 125 of the 180 students attending.

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Wanted: a chaplain for the armed forces

By Marcus Dysch, February 12, 2009

The Ministry of Defence is to appoint its first full-time Jewish chaplain to the armed forces.

He will be expected to advise on religious issues, organise services for Jewish personnel and arrange kosher rations.

Jewish servicemen and women are the last to receive a dedicated chaplain, with Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Sikh padres already employed by the MoD.

Jonathan Woodhouse, MoD deputy chaplain-general, said the appointment was “essential”.

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Sainthood bid for nun who saved lives

By Simon Caldwell, February 12, 2009

A little-known English nun who helped to hide Italian Jews from the Nazis in wartime Rome is being considered as a possible saint.

Mother Ricarda Beauchamp Hambrough, who died in 1966, is credited with playing a vital role in saving the lives of more than 60 Jews by smuggling them into her convent.

Her order, the Bridgettines, have now applied to the Vatican for permission to open her cause for sainthood.

If granted, she will become one of four British women whose sainthood cases are under consideration by the Church.

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Church: sell-off was not Israel protest

By Simon Rocker, February 12, 2009

The Church of England has rejected claims from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign that it had withdrawn investments from an international corporation as a protest against Israel.

Pro-Palestinian campaigners have made several attempts to persuade the Church to pull out of the engineering firm Caterpillar, saying that the company’s bulldozers were used by Israel to support the occupation of the West Bank.

But a Church spokesman insisted that a decision, taken in October, to sell its stake in Caterpillar was made on “financial” and not ethical investment grounds.

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John Lewis quashes false boycott claim

By Leon Symons, February 12, 2009

Department store John Lewis has moved to quash an allegation in a Jewish freesheet claiming that it was considering a boycott of Israel goods.

The false claim was made in an article in the Jewish News by Mill Hill rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, who called for a boycott of the store, and which John Lewis says has cost it thousands of pounds in cancelled sales.

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New JC MD

February 12, 2009

The JC Board has announced the appointment of Alan Rubenstein as
managing director.

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